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I've been dealing with severe stabbing pains in the back of my head for over 30 years, starting in high school. My problems are due to a nerve that started deteriorating for no known reason, and after seeing over 50 doctors and trying an ever greater number of medications, I decided I needed to do some research on neurology (with emphasis on nerve pain.) While I'm happy and feel obligated in some sense to share what I've learned, I think the most important thing I've discovered is that medical science is only just starting to understand neuralgia (nerve pain) and how to treat it. Pain is the most common complaint that doctors hear, yet it has been so poorly understood for so long that Pain Medicine has become a specialty unto itself. In many conversations I've had with neuralgia sufferers, I've heard many people confirm my own experiences with neurologists who can't seem to treat pain successfully unless a diagnostic test show them that a particular nerve has been damaged. In these cases, pain physicians (particularly those who work in a pain clinic setting) seem to be more adept at treating pain based on signs, symptoms, and a patient's medical history.

I tell you all of this to prepare you for what you may encounter. Nerve pain can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and you may have to become more knowledgable about your condition so you can be your own most effective health advocate.

Going to the chiropractor can be a good idea, especially if alignment of your spine is a contributing factor to your pain. Just be sure to let your chiropractor know if you experience excessive pain, tingling, or numbness after any realignment procedures or manipulations are performed, since that can indicate increased trauma to a nerve.

There is considerable overlap of areas covered by sensory nerves (these area are known as dermatomes,) so in general, pain in a given dermatome may be related to any of several nerves. Diagnostic tests (like nerve blocks and nerve conduction tests) may help the doctor determine which nerve is being affected, and this can help guide specific physical treatments, such as surgery, nerve stimulation to scramble pain signals, long-acting Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs,) and targeted physical therapy.

It is highly likely that you will be on some form of medication, especially if other treatments are not effective at reducing your pain to a tolerable level. Most neuralgia meds in use today were not specifically developed for nerve pain, but their ability to reduce neuralgia symptoms was often observed in trials or after the drugs were released to market. Don't be surprised if your doctor prescribes antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, anti-anxiety drugs, or muscle relaxants, as many of them are effective in relieving the sharp pains typical of pinched, compressed, or entrapped nerves.

Finally, it's impotant to note that some neuralgia sufferers need narcotics to reduce the pain to tolerable levels. Many neurologists and even pain doctors are very skeptical about prescribing narcotics, so in many cases, patients suffer needlessly. There are risks associated with all medications, but narcotics can be a real "hot potato" for some doctors. This is where health advocacy and diplomacy are often required. You have the right, as a pain sufferer, to have your doctor treat your pain as aggressively as any life-threatening condition, and that may include the use of narcotics. If your doctor doesn't "believe in nacotics" or before prescribing narcotics requires you to undergo a paricular procedure that you've heard may make your condition worse, you have every right to speak up, and may decide you need a different doctor. You may not have to face these scenarios, but be prepared.

For what it's worth, your pain seems to be in an area covered by the third cervical nerve (C3,) but because of the overlap of dermatomes mentioned earlier, nerve fibers from adjacent nerves might also be the culprit. Exercises or physical therapy are common for cervical nerve pain, and you may benefit from a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit with or without deep tissue massage or trigger point manipulation. Drugs (alone or in combination) like Neurontin, Elavil, Pamelor, Lyrica, Keppra, Cymbalta, Klonopin, or even Valium may be prescribed. This list is by no means comprehensive, but these drugs are currently very popular for nerve pain.

Please post any changes to your condition here. I want to know how you're progressing.



[QUOTE=Amanda06;4636004]Thanks for the informative and knowlegeable response to the puzzling question. :) Because, I was normaly able to work outdoor by lifting and shavelling heavy dirt in my large flower and shrub garden for the past years.

However, I'm no longer a young person, then my advanced age may contribute to this health issue? :confused:

Physical therapy must be referred by the Neurologist, however he didn't mention it at all. Instead, he gave me a sheet of paper which explaining 'how to excercise to get it better. Also, 6-days med. sample. He told me to take 'nerve test' to see whether there is any nerve damage due to this, pinched nerve. Afterwards, he told me to get an rx med.

In the meantime, I made an appoitment with a Chiropractor and also the next appoinment with the Neuro is within 10 more days. Then, hopefully I'm getting in the track to enjoy outdoor activities and computer.

Any other suggestions on this would be truly appreciated.

Thanks again,[/QUOTE]





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